Monday, 14 April 2014

Coutinho Seals Vital Win

This week lives in the memories of all Liverpool fans as we remember the 96 fans who went to an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough and never came back, yesterday was an heart-warming way to remember them as an impeccably marked silence was accompanied by a special mosaic reading '96 - 25 years' as Manchester City visited.

An emotional afternoon began perfectly for Liverpool as Suarez split the City defence and found Sterling who defied his age and outfoxed Hart to tap into an open net to send the home fans euphoric and Sterling continued to pressure City as he turned creator for Sturridge but the effort went wide.

City responded as Toure hit a rasping drive over the bar but in the process seemed to hurt himself and had to go off dealing the visitors a blow while Garcia replaced him and found himself in the book less than a minute after coming on.

Sterling's pace was really causing City trouble and after a pass to Sturridge was cut out, Coutinho swept in a corner that Gerrard met spectacularly forcing Hart to tip the ball over the bar.Gerrard swept in the resulting corner to devastating effect as Skrtel evaded Kompany before glancing a header that sailed over Hart and into the net and Liverpool were in dreamland at 2-0.

Two could have been three just before half-time as Coutinho found himself in a good position but hit off target with Silva having a dangerous header deflected and chaos ensuing in the Liverpool box with both Sterling and Johnson clearing off the line. Mignolet kept the two-goal lead intact with a fine save from Fernandinho's strong volley and Pellegrini made a second change at the interval bringing Milner on for Navas.

City had their best chance to score when a dangerous cross went through the box from Milner and Silva tapped past Mignolet but the ball had gone out in the build-up, it was a warning that Liverpool didn't heed as a repeat cross from Milner minutes later found Silva and this time his effort did count.

Silva caused trouble for Liverpool again as he hit for goal only to see his shot deflect off Johnson and wrong-foot Mignolet to level the score, it is said that true champions are able to triumph after pressure and this was a real test of that.

The momentum was with City and Dzeko looked to complete the turnaround as he hit for goal after a mistake in the Liverpool defence but was denied by Mignolet and the pressure saw Aguero enter the fray as City looked to catch Liverpool on the break.

Anfield held its breath when Aguero passed Skrtel and raced forward with Silva against Sakho but luckily for the hosts, the Argentinian's pass evaded Silva in space at the back post. Liverpool came back and got a throw-in in a dangerous position, the ball came to Kompany and he hacked at the loose ball but it went straight to Coutinho who made no mistake in powering past Hart as Anfield erupted.

City pressured Liverpool and got a lifeline in the final minutes when Henderson was given a straight red but were unable to prevent a magical win for Liverpool that puts a potential first Premier League title in their hands to lose.